Kyoto Animation has a library of celebrated classics: which one came out on top?

Kyoto Animation, also known affectionately as KyoAni by fans and industry workers alike, is one of Japan’s most cherished animation studios, and with good reason. Not only is it renowned in the animation world for its incredibly detailed, lush animation work, but it’s reportedly also a great place to work alongside some of the most talented people in a deeply talented industry…making it all the more sad when one of their studios was burned down in an arson attack last year. With a range of masterpieces under their belt, it’s hard to pick a favorite; harder still when you factor in the various movies the studio produced. But Internet news site Netlab challenged users to name their favorite, and now we have a clearer picture of which of these expertly-crafted works loom largest amongst fans!

Counting down from the top 10, here are the picks from the survey’s 9,521 respondents:

10. Beyond the Boundary
9. Nichijou
8. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2006)
7. Liz and the Blue Bird
6. Clannad

The top five features some breakout hits beloved by die-hard anime fans and casual viewers alike. Make sure to check them out if you haven’t had the chance, and prepare to be blown away by breathtaking direction, sweet character designs and a palpable sense of passion.

5. K-On!

K-On! follows the members of a titular “popular music” club — rather than typical band clubs found in high schools, the band in K-On! focuses on electric guitar, sweet vocal harmonies and catchy riffs that stick in fans’ heads to this day. Teenagers Yui, Mio, Ritsu, Tsumugi and Azusa undergo the trials and tribulations of keeping a small-time school band afloat, improving their respective skills with their instruments and tackling typical high school issues like shyness, studies and awkward social situations.

4. Hyouka

Hyouka’s title literally means “frozen dessert”, but there’s more to it than meets the eye — which is part of the allure of this 22-episode anime series, following protagonists Hotaro and Eru as they unravel a series of suspicious mysteries about their school and hometown. With a wonderfully intense mood, strong vocal performances and of course, a bounty of mysteries to solve, Hyouka will stay with you long after the credits roll on the final episode.

3. Free!

When the teaser commercial for Kyoto Animation’s animated continuation of the High Speed! light novel first hit the Internet in 2013, there was an international surge of interest for the show and its cast of Speedo-clad swimming boys. Apparently there was enough interest in Haruka, Makoto, Rin, Nagisa and Rei’s swimming escapades to fill a whole mass of swimming pools, as the Free! franchise now spans various seasons, audio dramas and theatrical releases; and its fans are still eager for more!

2. Sound! Euphonium

The story of Kumiko Omae’s high school’s band camp journey, beset by inadequacy anxieties, worries about losing her closest friend and the nagging fear that maybe the club won’t place at finals has captured many hearts: some current band kids even cite it as the reason they enrolled in band club at high school. Achingly real in everything from its depiction of teenhood malaise to its pitch-perfect recreations of high school band performances, Sound! Euphonium is an experience to savor.

But what did Netlab’s survey find to be the crown jewel of Kyoto Animation’s achievements?

1. Violet Evergarden

Netflix faced some controversy in their decision to not air this lavishly rendered series simultaneously worldwide after securing its streaming rights, but Violet Evergarden has thrived like the proudest flower in a war torn field. The first of the series’ movies was released in the wake of the tragic arson attack, and another due to be released this year was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but fans are standing vigil to see the heartrending story of Violet and her fellow dolls through to the end.

Hopefully you’ve picked up a couple of new possible favorites from this list, and if you need more anime to keep your spirits up, don’t forget — Katsuhiro Otomo’s works are streaming free for a period, as are Sailor Moon and Evangelion features!

Source: Yahoo! News/Netlab via Otakkomu
Top image: YouTube/KyoaniChannel

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